Alerted by some concerned residents, I visited the recently “completed” Baxter Creek Park at Miraflores, which features a pedestrian trail and a daylighted portion of Baxter Creek. Unfortunately, I found the park to be a total wasteland, completely unkempt, strewn with trash and garbage, overgrown with weeds and dying trees barely two years old.
This is a prime example of what has gone wrong in Richmond since the ascendance of the Richmond Progressive Alliance and the stewardship and mismanagement of City Manager Laura Snideman and City Attorney Teresa Stricker.
The City of Richmond spent at least $1,915,279 on the Miraflores Baxter Creek Park Restoration, described as “Transforming a Bay Area Brownfield into a Green Jewel” and “The city of Richmond is emerging as a leader in sustainable redevelopment and in the process, preserving its past.”
The first phase of the Miraflores project was a 79-unit affordable housing project by Eden Housing that was completed in 2019 (“Senior Community Blossoms on Site of Former Japanese Nurseries”).
The second phase was construction of the Baxter Creek Park, aided by a $500,000 grant from the Coastal Conservancy.
Figure 1 - Excerpt from FY 2018-19 CIP
Richmond Rotary planned to install interpretive historical exhibits as part of the park dedication to celebrate the club’s Richmond centennial, but the park may be too far gone at this point.
Figure 2 - https://richmondcarotary.org/miraflores/
The third phase was to be a 190-unit Miraflores Residential Development by Miraflores Community Devco, LLC, that included restoration of historic buildings remaining from the Japanese nurseries formerly on the site. That project is stalled out, and the site is a fire hazard of overgrown weeds and grass and piles of debris.
Meanwhile, the Baxter Creek park and the site of the proposed Devco development has deteriorated to a point that is a huge embarrassment to the City of Richmond.
How did this happen?
The City of Richmond has limited resources and must set priorities. The priorities of the Richmond Progressive Alliance and the city manager are not focused on infrastructure and development. Just the opposite, they are focused on opposing development and neglecting infrastructure. The city manager and the city attorney are spending scarce resources funding investigations and trying to dismantle fully entitled projects at Point Molate and Campus Bay instead of taking care of the City. They probably have never been to Baxter Creek Park or even know it exists.
They are spending money on reimagining public safety, exploring voting by undocumented residents and expanding homeless RV camps. The City Council recently reduced the police force and transferred funds to support $983,375 of homeless services for 60 to 80 RV dwellers. That’s $12,292 to $16,380 per RV! For almost the same price, you could relocate these people to one-bedroom apartments.
Councilmember Eduardo Martinez wants to build a sideshow park where young people can burn rubber and show off. He also wants to ban coal but doesn’t seem to mind the smell of burning rubber and burning fuel – not to mention the sound and the safety issues.
It is time for the people of Richmond to wake up and realize the direction we are going before it is too late to reverse it.
It may be too late, however, for Baxter Creek Park.